Climate Change in Australia (Part 2)

Methane if not burnt into CO2 has 28-36x the impact of the same mass of CO2 over a 100 year period. So if gas is used to generate energy it has a moderate climate impact, if it leaks it has a strong impact.

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Ideally we don’t use gas as a transition fuel. Problem is I don’t see how we avoid it.

We’ve got two dilemmas to solve, how quickly we can build stuff and how quickly we can invent stuff.

Renewables are largely variable generation. They are inconsitent throughout the day and over multiple days. This is what the climate deniers point at as if it’s an unsolvable problem, but it’s relatively simple to solve. Solar and wind is cheap, so you can overbuild it and spread it across a wide area so that on average you get the baseline needs met. You then use the periods of over generation to charge batteries, pumped hydro and hydrogen electrolysers that can be used to cover the evening load.

Problem is, if you do get a still day in the middle of winter where the days are short and cloudy, you can statistically end up in a renewables drought. It’s rare, maybe 2-5 days a year, but it happens. Your choices are to either massively over invest in batteries and pumped hydro, or keep the gas generation around to backfill those windows. It doesn’t make sense to invest that much in storage, when we can buy offsets for that relatively small amount of emissions.

The other problem we will face with speed of construction is the awkward capacity gaps that open up as large coal generators leave the grid. These are big shocks to the market and will have real hurt factor if there isn’t an on-demand gas generator ready to step in while more renewables are being built. The pace of renewables private investment just isn’t getting out in front of coal closures, it sucks but the financial incentives seem to be weighted more to building after coal closures when there’s a bit of a shortage.

With the R&D aspect, we are seeing massive efficiency and cost improvements in storage, solar and wind unit cost. That’s almost guaranteed to continue to get better, the issue is how quickly can storage scale up to make gas uncompetitive. We are using lithium batteries for grid scale storage because that’s what has been scaled up already. Cheaper materials that are more suited to industrial scale use don’t have a ramped up production line and thus are priced out of the market by lithium. I’m optimistic here, but the gas forecast can’t assume that a new technology will magic itself into existence.

Then there’s the thermal and chemical demand for gas. Most plastic uses gas as a feedstock. Most aluminium uses gas to run industrial furnaces. Most fertilizer uses gas as an input. Glass uses gas to run their furnaces. Almost every industry that needs heat is tooled up for gas. That’s going to require new processes to be developed and expensive plant modifications in order to reduce gas usage in industry. This is going to be a very stubborn sector to change, because there’s no easy answer.

In the end residential gas demand will decline to near zero. That will be replaced with either hydrogen or electricity. Remote industrial and mining sites will transition off gas powered generators to renewables. Some industries will easily electrify, while others will face very real challenges. Gas will shift from constant use to a spiky on and off type of demand, but when it’s on it really really needs to be on. Over the period through to 2050 coal and most petrol use will leave the economy, because gas is able to provide the security needed for electricity to be the reliable alternative to today’s common energy sources.

So why am I in favour of gas exports? Because what I said up above is applicable to pretty much every country on the transition. If they don’t have gas, they can’t turn off their coal plants or reliably charge their cars. If a renewable grid isn’t guaranteed to work, then the renewable grid won’t be built. We can do gas better than today, currently running the gas export compressor trains uses 7.2% of Australia’s total gas production. That could be electrified for huge emissions savings. But if we don’t provide the world with gas, they won’t build renewables and then we are stuffed.

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https://www.reuters.com/world/americas/persistent-brazil-floods-raise-specter-climate-migration-2024-05-13/?utm_source=reddit.com

The good news is that the planet will be enormously better off if 70% of humans die out by the end of the century.

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It’s a small mercy but sst finally trending down a fraction

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As to solar, the reaction of different western Governments to the dependence on Chinese manufactured panels may influence the consumer price or take up.
In Australia, the approach seems to be to put money into R&D for more Australian manufacture , which may work if there is enough investment to get them to market.
On the other hand, the EU, which is 99% dependent on Chinese panels, has taken a series of anti-dumping actions against China in this sector.
What is the major import source of wind turbines?

For wind turbines, the order of scale is Europe > China > US > everyone else.

The supply chain for this gear has been really messed up from covid onwards, so pricing has been all over the place in recent years.

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El Nino now waning, so hopefully things start settling down. Will be interesting to see where we are at once La Nina kicks in. But this is good, hopefully we are below 2023 levels soon!

We stand out like a beacon on the map!

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Texas copping it again:

https://twitter.com/AdamKrueger/status/1791288018961113586?t=CKBCoNCXYKR6hQ6LHoFOew&s=19

https://twitter.com/PoojaOnTV/status/1791280934039302556?t=dBZ6UshXaC1cpPCjEW4iAw&s=19

Does highlight the dependency of power transmission and the risk to the power grid. Especially as it is estimated the US$476 billion is needed for the US to cater for grid upgrades to cater for renewable sources.

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Hurr.

Durr.

I find it funny what simpletons find funny, particularly when what they find funny is actually their own ignorance

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Not sure if you are referring to me or not. If you are you are greatly mistaken in calling me ignorant.

I find it funny and sad that this is still predominately the way most are powering electric cars and other uses.

I drive an EV, have a 15.6kW solar and a power wall. Still connected to the grid as a risk mitigation.

There is currently a 0% chance we will limit warming to under 3 degrees. The image shows how stupid the current situation and the slow pace path we are on is.

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He’s absolutely referring to you.

Conservatives can’t meme.

Edit: oh???

That’s…that’s a weird…
I mean…
What?

Edit: edit: No, really….that meme does not reflect your position.
You kinda need to explain it.
‘Cos…the meme looks like conservative…Coal Coal, I love Coal, Fark renewables, they’re so woke, going to bash some gays now.

I don’t vote conservative. In fact I use to and changed my voting because of the policies of the LNP in regards to climate change.

Don’t you find ironic and sad the current state our planet is in and the lack of government policy worldwide to limit the damage? I sure do and that image captures it in some way. If you can’t see that, not sure what to say to you.